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Can Unemployment Be the Healthiest Time of Your Life?

When I heard the news that I was being laid off, I felt like I’d been punched in the gut. My face grew hot, my stomach tightened, and I felt a little unsteady on my feet.

So far, unemployment felt awful.

Over the next few days, the knot in my stomach slowly unwound itself. I woke up in the morning and remembered, “I don’t have to rush to any meetings. I don’t have to commute. I don’t have to drink office coffee!”

And somehow my internal clock reset itself. My 3 p.m. snacking habit disappeared and I stopped getting the Sunday night blues. It’s amazing how much stress from work had been influencing my physical and emotional health.

Sure, unemployment is different for everyone. I’d been laid off before—and that time all I did was worry. This time I used the opportunity to develop a longtime passion and start my own business. But even if you just got laid off and have zero idea what comes next, consider this an opportunity to focus on you for a change. Start by leveraging what you have (extra time) and make some healthy changes in your life to start feeling your best.

Find Some Freebies
Lots of gyms, yoga studios, and similar facilities offer free passes to new students. Since you suddenly have no routine to adhere to, you can mix it up! Try as many new activities as you can without spending a dime of that unemployment check.

Sorry Rachael, Thirty-Minute Meals Are for Working Stiffs
Why throw dinner together when you have all this extra time? Think about baking your own bread or simmering homemade soup. Foods like these require little effort besides keeping track of the time. It’s also a great way to save money

Bye-bye, Café
Now is probably a good time to kick your $13 a day latte habit. Check out some different morning brews to make at home, including good-for-you herbal and green tea. Some varieties to try are Peppermint and Ginger (to help soothe a cranky stomach) and Kukicha (for a mild energy boost with a roasted flavor). 

The Healthiest Foods Are the Cheapest
You heard me. Fresh organic produce, beans, seeds, and whole grains like brown rice and quinoa are some of the cheapest foods you can buy. Why not take some time to learn how to cook a new dish using fresh, whole foods like these? You’ll feel better in your body and your wallet.

Get Face Time with Those Who Really Matter
Being healthy isn’t just about food and exercise. Now that you aren’t working long hours anymore you can actually make it to your kid’s game or your friend’s book club. Take advantage and nourish yourself with the positive people around you.

Do Nothing
That’s right, absolutely nothing. Every waking moment does not have to be a productive flurry of activity. Take a deep inhale … and exhale … and that’s all you have to do. 

By Michelle Pfennighaus for Excelle